By: Leah Luzano
This is the most popular family of shrimp in the world. Originating in Asia its natural color is a transparent greenish grey and brown color. They have been selectively bred into a rainbow of different colors, the most popular being Red Cherry Shrimp. Reds look beautiful contrasting the greens and browns of a nature aquarium, however, if you do not fancy the color red there are many other beautiful colors to choose from. Green, yellow, blue, black, orange, brown, white, even purple shrimp are available for hobbyists’ and people around the world are still breeding to come up with new color selections.
Another reason why the Neocaridina Heteropoda family of shrimp is so popular is because they are fairly easy to keep. They are hardy and don’t require meticulous maintenance – They are perfect for beginner shrimp-feverists and for people who are too busy to tend to their tanks for more than 5 minutes every day. Unlike Amano Shrimp who are also hardy enough for beginners, these shrimp can be bred very easily as well (for Amano shrimp babies to survive they need to be in salt water). This is an extra added benefit for the beginner shrimp-feverist who would like to experience all the joys of keeping shrimp.
Neocaridina Heteropoda’s are omnivores and are not a threat to most other tank mates. However, if you are planning to keep fish as well you should be very careful of your selection of fish. Bigger fish can bully and eat shrimp especially if your shrimp produce babies. Babies are great targets to fish for food. Small fish like Dwarf Gouramis, Neon Tetras, and Cardinal Tetras are fine in the presence of adult shrimp. When keeping shrimp (especially if there are fish present) make sure your aquarium is equipped with a lot of places for your shrimp to hide such as pieces of wood, rocks and heavily planted areas.
These shrimp love algae and can usually find an abundance of it in well planted and well lit tanks. They are not very picky eaters and will eat any kind of aquarium food. They especially love algae disks, and even very small amounts of soft boiled vegetables. Be sure to take out any uneaten vegetables from your tank so they do not rot and mess up your water quality. Also for aquarium food mare sure it has minimal amounts of copper if any at all because it is dangerous to shrimp in large amounts.
It is best when keeping these shrimp to have a 10 gallon tank or bigger because they can breed fairly quickly. The smaller the tank, and the denser the population the harder it will be to keep the water quality at its best. For a filter it is best to use a sponge filter so that the baby shrimp and small shrimp don’t get sucked into the filter. Change the water 20%-30% every week and feed your shrimp a small amount of food every day. Live plants are best in the shrimp tank to help keep the water quality high and about hours of full spectrum lighting daily for your plants and alge (for your shrimp to eat) to grow. There are many beautiful beginner plants to choose from that don’t require too much work to maintain. A heater is needed to keep the temperature stable, ideally around 75 degrees. PH should be around 7.2 and moderately hard water is best (around 8 dkh). Small variances in temperature, hardness, and pH will not affect the shrimp much as long as it isn’t anything extreme.
To breed these little buggers you will obviously need at least one male and one female present, that’s usually all the preparation you need and they will do all the magic on their own. Females are usually bigger size and denser in color than males, and their tails are fuller than the males – like they are wearing skirts. It’s in these skirts that they keep their fertilized eggs till they hatch. You can ask your local fish store employees to pick out males and females for you, you may be lucky enough to find a female there that is already carrying eggs.
Personally I think these shrimp are great because they are easy to keep and every color variation is beautiful in its own way. More experienced shrimp-feverists can even challenge themselves to try and breed more color variations. The possibilities are exciting and endless with these shrimp and I think anyone would enjoy keeping them.
More pictures of the color Variations will be coming soon as I search for them, I hope you all enjoyed the article and learned a little bit.